Mukul Roy prepares to return to TMC, Bengal BJP shows indifference
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Mukul Roy left his home for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) headquarters here on Friday afternoon amid speculation that he might return to the ruling party in West Bengal.
No TMC leader commented on record, but some of them said chief minister Mamata Banerjee might consider welcoming turncoats who left before the recent assembly polls but did not take any radical stand against her.
Roy kept mum on his next move, but left his Salt Lake residence at 2pm and headed for the TMC headquarters at the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, where an important meeting was scheduled to be held at 3pm. Roy was escorted by a Kolkata Police convoy.
The chief minister also left her residence at Kalighat in south Kolkata at 2pm and headed for the party headquarters. Roy and his son Subhranshu Roy reached the TMC headquarters at 2.29pm in separate cars. The chief minister’s convoy reached a few minutes earlier.
Banerjee is scheduled to make an announcement at a press conference around 3.30pm.
The development came as an embarrassment for the BJP, although Mukul Roy’s recent actions made it clear that his relationship with the saffron camp was souring.
“I cannot speculate on rumours,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a press conference in Delhi.
“Those who have nothing to contribute to the growth of the BJP are free to leave,” said Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, without referring to Roy or any of the TMC turncoats.
Several former TMC leaders who joined the BJP have publicly appealed to Mamata Banerjee to forgive them. They include the chief minister’s former aide Sonali Guha. Others, such as former forest minister Rajib Banerjee, have written critical posts against the BJP.
On June 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Mukul Roy to inquire about the latter’s wife who is being treated for Covid-19 at a private hospital in east Kolkata.
Though Mukul Roy did not comment on the conversation that, according to BJP leaders, lasted around two-three minutes, the phone call made news as Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had visited the hospital the night before. His visit triggered speculations about Mukul Roy’s next political move.
The young Lok Sabha MP spent about 10 minutes at the hospital and met Mukul Roy’s son to enquire about his mother’s health.
Around two hours after Banerjee’s visit, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also went to the hospital to talk to Subhranshu Roy. The next day, Mukul Roy denied having any knowledge about Ghosh’s visit. “I don’t know who he came to see,” he said.
On May 29, Subhranshu Roy wrote on his social media page that self-criticism was more necessary than criticising a government elected by people. Though he did not name any party or state, social media users took it as an obvious reference to the situation in Bengal.
While Mukul Roy won the Krishnanagar North seat in Nadia district in the recent assembly polls, his son was defeated from the Bijpur seat that he held in North 24 Parganas district. Mukul Roy, who was the TMC’s founder member and a close aide of Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP in 2017. His son switched sides two years later.